With four victories today, Samy Camacho is winning races at a pace that would enable him to better Antonio Gallardo's single-season Tampa Bay Downs record of 147 set during the 2014-2015 meeting.
Camacho has 46 winners through the first 27 days of the current meeting. If he maintains that rate throughout, he would finish with 155 victories.
“I told Samy before the meeting that was a goal I had in mind,” said his agent, Steve Elzey. “When you get winning like he did at the end of last season (finishing second to Gallardo in the final standings with 100 victories), a lot of people are going to want you to ride their good horses.”
What no one, including Elzey, could forecast was that Camacho would lead Gallardo by a 19-victory margin before the moon comes over the mountain.
“I know Samy has that kind of ability,” Elzey said. “I've sat down and talked to him a few times this season just to make sure he keeps learning and keeps growing. The level of competition in this year's jockey colony is unbelievably good, but I think Samy is capable of keeping this pace.”
The 30-year-old Camacho's second four-victory performance of the meeting began when he won today's third race on Si Si McD, a 3-year-old gelding owned by Roger McDaniel, Joe Lentine, John Colvin and David Whelihan and trained by Joan Scott. He next won the fifth race aboard Metallic, a 5-year-old gelding owned by Harry Hoglander and Josie Gump and trained by Bill Sienkewicz.
Camacho added his third victory in the seventh race on Russian Roulette, a 3-year-old Florida-bred filly owned by Happy Tenth Stable and trained by Tony Wilson. He added the 10th race on Polygram, a 6-year-old gelding owned by John R. Smith and trained by Bobby Raymond.
Camacho, for his part, isn't making any predictions. “When I'm out there, I'm just thinking about winning. It doesn't matter if I'm on the favorite or a long shot,” he said. “I just pray every day that I stay healthy, because I know I have the ability to win races and give my horses the best chance that I can to win.”
With Festival Preview Day on Feb. 9 and Festival Day on March 9 featuring a combined six graded stakes worth $1.425-million in total purse money, it will be interesting to see what quality of mounts Elzey and Camacho can land for the track's biggest races. Camacho won his first Tampa Bay Downs stakes on Dec. 15 on Silver Bay in the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes, but doesn't yet have the vast experience of most of the other top local riders as well as the superstars based in south Florida.
“There have to be people looking for a jockey who rides this oval as well as he has been riding,” Elzey said.
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